Indeed, it’s time for the season to kick off this Saturday as we head to Goodison Park for what should be a mouthwatering encounter with a very self believing Everton side.
As Arsene mentioned yesterday, there will be no new signings before the opening game of the season and now we’ll have to think who will play and how we will play. We’ve been running with a 4-3-3 pre-season and it has its merits and it’s pitfalls. Personally, I’m not a fan of the 4-3-3 because it reminds me too much of a 4-5-1 and in the games against various teams in pre-season, it has been such. I’m a fan of a 4-4-2 with two strikers playing at all times.
The 4-3-3 has it merits as it allows us to accommodate two “inside forwards” such as Arshavin and Walcott. Additionally, it allows our midfield to be more dominating. However, I don’t think we’ve really lacked in our dominating of midfield, more over, we have lacked in our defensively stability and inability to put the ball in the back of the net. A player like Arshavin may thrive in a 4-3-3, but the same player may also thrive in a 4-4-2 as one of the strikers or a left winger. Where I see some positives, I also see some negatives. In my ideal Arsenal team, I don’t see play 3 midfielders such as Cesc, Denilson, Song is every game will benefit us long term. I really think playing two out of the five available to us (if you include Ramsey and Diaby) will be suitable.
I think playing four attacking players is all about what Arsenal are, have been and should be in the future. And I see these attacking players as a way of life, a way of playing our game. Whether the attacking players are deployed in a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2, I do not mind, but we must not reduce our attack to three players.
Let me explain a bit more about what I’m trying to get to. Arshavin, Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo, Walcott, Vela, Rosicky and Nasri are attacking players. As much as Arsene would have us believe, Cesc Fabregas is not an attacking player, is is a midfielder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he doesn’t get forward. But an attacking player in my eyes is a player who is comfortable in the final third positionally, a player who can either play on the wings or up front. And the same goes for Diaby – he is not an attacking player in the sense of a formation. Yes, both players can get forward but they should not be considered for striker or “in the hole” roles. So when we fielded Arshavin, Van Persie and Bendtner against Valencia, we were less attacking than we should have been – mainly because we had Diaby, Cesc and Denilson behind them.
Arsene, if you want, play 4-3-3, 4-4-2, or even 4-5-1, but at least have 4 players on the pitch who go forward. My view is that okay, we’re going with 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, then play players who work in this formation together.
A decent 4-2-3-1 would be:
Sagna – Vermaelen – Gallas – Clichy
Cesc – Song
Walcott – Van Persie – Arshavin
That would accommodate players in their best positions whilst not sacrificing the four attacking players on the pitch.
My fear is that players like Bendtner will play out of position on the wing and players like Eboue will play as attacker (as seen against Athletico Madrid)… A team like ours is simply geared for having 4 attacking players. Maybe Arsene hand will be forced as Rosicky and Nasri are out and he may prefer one of them in the hole.
It’s going to be an interesting start at Everton and they are certainly going to be a test. There will be a debate on whether or not Vermaelen should start or whether Djourou will get the nod – both ready and available – who would you have start?
Over in the wonderful world of transfers, there seems to be no movement for Chamakh, with Bordeaux saying this:
I have not had any sign of life from Arsenal. I am waiting. If Arsene Wenger really wants Marouane, I suppose he will finally get in touch. Contrary to what has been said, I am not aware of a €9million offer. Will Chamakh stay one more season? I don’t know. In front of me I have a player that wants to leave.
And news is that West Ham are prepared a £12m bid for the striker, which could supper our Summer plans, as I do think Arsene wants Chamakh to join us and I do think he’ll be willing to spend around 9 million euros. For a player with only one year left on his contract, it is a significant amount and a sign that Arsene does want the player.
A player who will not being joining us is Patrick Vieira who today publicly announced he was going to stay at Inter Milan. It’s a strange one, as the player would surely have been useful in and around the squad and wouldn’t have been too expensive to get in. It does make me wonder whether Arsene has someone lined up for this role, or whether he’s going to get into September without any reinforcements in this area.
So, there we are, we’re going with what we’ve got and we’ve got 4 strikers at the helm, only 2 wingers available at the moment, both whom want to be strikers… 5 central midfielders, 4 central defenders (and Senderos is still around) as well as three left backs and two right backs. We’ve got a squad that can go to Everton and win and it’s going to be a big test come next Saturday whether we’re up for it and whether our new formation will work. We can’t afford to drop points on the opening day of the season, so let’s get behind the team and see what Arsene has in store!
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